Marla Goodman with EZ care house guests.

Let’s start today’s post with a tacky click-bait headline: “When you see what this artist does with her paintings, your mind will be blown!”

Now the real story. I’ve always wanted to play the Theremin in public. David and Wren chipped in to buy me one for my birthday a few years ago and I love horsing around with it. I’m not that good, but I can carry a tune, as long as it’s not too fast (e.g., Moon River yes, Mexican Hat Dance, no.)

One day last summer when we were cleaning out our storage unit, I unearthed Wren’s old karaoke machine (#1 on the “never-to-be-used Christmas gifts for teens” list in 2004, thank you) and discovered that I could play Theremin riffs along with the karaoke CD I found inside the machine (e.g. “Sweet Caroline”). The idea of becoming a hokey Theremin busking artist who plays along with karaoke recordings has been festering in my mind ever since.

So fast forward to Ron Gompertz’s going-away-to-London party, where I may or may not have had one too many Pimm’s cups (too many probably meaning one) and ran into Mike “Bueno” Good, the owner of Cactus Records.

In an uncharacteristically social mood, I accosted Bueno, “Hey, you know me, doncsha? I’m Wren’s mom. I gotta talk to you about the next Art Walk. I wanna play the Theremin on the street! Do you think maybe I could play in front of Cactus?”

“…And I could put some of my art in the window, and, you know…it would make Art Walk way more fun…I’m sick of seeing nothing but elk paintings. And we could have an art relay where people run up and down the street and take turns painting on the same painting… and we could do Sleeve Face photos in your store to get people in there… blah blah blah, manic rant, manic rant, manic rant… ”

Bueno, being characteristically polite, tried not to look terrified and said something along the lines, of “Sure, maybe…” and we exchanged emails and Facebook friendships.

But, then a friend encouraged me NOT to become a Theremin busking dynamo for the July Art Walk because it just might be one of those ill-conceived performance notions that I habitually plan hastily, do half-assedly and regret tearfully, so I contacted Beuno and said no-go for July. …But now it’s August! New month! Forgetting all good sense, I contacted Bueno  again. We’re on!

I figured I’d display some weird old doll paintings and my new series of gouaches.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Meanwhile, I had done an oil stick drawing of a plastic doll, and she somehow found her way onto our dinner table. As we joined her for lunch and dinner, we started feeling a sense of familial intimacy with her and David and I imagined who else we’d like to have to dinner. Then I told my friend Anne Garner about our idea of creating art especially as dinner guests, and she and I spewed out a list of ideas of people we’d like to dine with. I asked my friends on Facebook, and they added their ideas. I decided to make this the theme of the Cactus art happening.

Since there was only a week or so until the show, I had to paint about a painting a day in order to have something to hang. They ended up being pretty cheesy knock-offs, from sources directly from the web. As art, they’re really nothing to shout about. It also turned out that the Cactus window is too small to set up a dining table, so I began to lose heart. Over brunch last weekend, I consulted Wren and David, and we decided that a “serving suggestion” in the way of some photos would be good enough to get the idea across. Wren took some staged photos of me, and I fixed up some promos to hype my little show.


(Marla Goodman with binge watching bros, Ryan Cassavaugh and Bueno Good, of Cactus Records.)

Et voila! I give you “Social Shortcuts,” the teeny tiny show that’s mostly all hype, and really is just an excuse for me to play the Theremin. (A limited number of custom portraits is available through my Etsy shop, Kitschatorium.)


See you Friday, August 14 2015 at Cactus!